The Kansas City Chiefs secondary has gotten a lot of publicity over the past few months. There is a lot to be excited about if you are a Chiefs fan right now in regards to the defensive backs and what they could accomplish in 2010. The unit made strides in 2010 with rookie Eric Berry going to the pro bowl, and then second-year players Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers took steps forward in their development. But Kendrick Lewis should also be mentioned when talking about how special this group could become.
Lewis was the fifth pick in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL draft. Scott Pioli was a fan of Lewis and made him a priority before the third day of the draft. per arrowheadpride.
"There were a couple people in here that were strong supporters -- this is why you have a strong staff, a scouting staff. And when he continued to last on the board, we spent additional time -- actually the morning of the third day -- watching more tape."
The Chiefs had already drafted Eric Berry in the first round that same year and the uncertainty regarding returning safety Jarrad Page opened the door for Lewis to join the Chiefs. It seems to have worked out for the Chiefs as Lewis helped the defense make tremendous strides from 2009 to 2010. The Chiefs went from 30th in the NFL in scoring defense in 2009 by giving up almost 27 points per game to just over 20 points per game and ranking 11th in 2010. They shaved off an entire touchdown per game in the one-year span. Obviously Lewis wasn't the only new addition to the defense and having a player like Eric Berry at strong safety is going to help out any defense. Throw in Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator and Emmitt Thomas as defensive backs coach and you're going to be better. But Lewis helped make them better.
Part of the success in the development in the younger defensive backs has to do with the contributions of veteran safety Jon McGraw. He is the veteran defensive back that has been the kind of go-to-guy for the younger players to reach out to with questions about assignments and responsibilities. You would think that there would be a strange dynamic between the veteran players and those who were ultimately drafted to replace those same guys that are helping them day-in and day-out. McGraw doesn't have that attitude and he said as much before last season right after Berry and Lewis were drafted. per arrowheadpride
"I want to be the best player I can be and a lot of times becoming the best player, the way to get there is to be a better teacher. If you can really teach something well, you can actually help yourself and learn it better. It's a great way for veterans to get better at their skill to teach it to other guys. Guys that go into isolation mode, in the end actually hurt the team."
It would seem that this quote would perfectly sum up the reason why the Chiefs wanted to bring McGraw back for another season. Most would believe that Lewis would be starting over McGraw and the most recent depth chart would confirm that Lewis will in fact be the starter. But McGraw has a role on this team and he should help both Berry and Lewis become better players.
There will be a lot of talk about Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr and Eric Berry when people talk about the talented defensive backs for the Chiefs. But the 23-year old Lewis has a bright career ahead of him and hopefully he and Berry can team up to roam the defensive backfield for the Chiefs for the next 10+ years.